Being a great student isn’t only about the grades you’re getting.

It takes a special breed of person to thrive in public schools (and most private schools) today.

The qualities that allow students to thrive in school aren’t the qualities that make a great student.

Students that are traditionally “good students” tend to be obedient, laid-back, and polite.

There is nothing wrong with those qualities.

They’re just more appropriate for schooling than learning.

Certain qualities are signs of intelligence despite not being appreciated in school:

  • Skepticism
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Focus
  • Energy

Humans didn’t evolve for thousands of years to thrive in a classroom environment.

They evolved to survive in the real world actually solving day to day problems.

Memorizing long lists of random information is useless for that. Remembering locations and important skills is natural.

What schools consider a good student does not make a strong student when it comes to the real world.

This Is What Students Are

Students learn. Just because you’re sitting in a classroom it doesn’t mean you’re a student.

Most people think about students in a school context.

The average person spends over a decade in the classroom. School isn’t the only means that can make someone a student.

Students can be self-directed or even mentor directed in a subject.

Heck, students can have no plan for learning and just follow their whims in a particular subject.

When a student is the average good student in school, it says nothing about their potential.

It doesn’t mean they’ll be a good student outside of school.

The same goes for typical bad students.

The qualities that they need to be great students in the real world can lead to struggling in a school environment.

Intelligent students can end up getting shunned and treated like bad students. Of course, that just leads to the student becoming less and less motivated to try and be a good student.

The problem just stacks on itself and some of the smartest students end up getting subpar grades.

What Does A Bad Student Look Like?

Bad students tend to think differently and thinking differently can be a really good thing. (And sometimes a bad thing.)

There are qualities that traditionally bad student have that actually are signs of intelligence.

Not having these qualities doesn’t mean a person is wrong but having them isn’t wrong either.

These are qualities that are not treated kindly in the average school environment.

Some are attacked.

In those cases, these qualities may not be as visible in the student because the student is hiding it.

Some are qualities that are largely ignored by school. They end up being the qualities most bad students curl up into.

Piercing Skepticism

After decades of education, if a student is still skeptical of what their teachers say, he or she is an unusual student.

Teachers are not the know-all and be-all of their subjects.

They’re human beings.

Sure, teens are getting boosts of new hormones get excessive with their skeptical rebellions but skepticism is something that almost no students at an older age have enough of.

That’s expected in the environment though.

Skepticism is often attacked by teacher equivalents of “because I said so.”

This is often because teachers take it as a sign of disrespect.

Traditional lesson plans don’t leave much room for tangents of a single students whims.

In a classroom of 30 students, this is bound to be a problem at times.

That’s why students are taught to just accept the teacher’s statements as fact.

This skepticism can be catastrophic to a student.

They need to manage it carefully.

Good luck getting good grades when your teachers think you’re an ass. 😛

Laser Focus

Focusing on what is important to you is essential to good decision making.

I remember looking into my friend’s face in class. His eyes were glazed over. His mouth was open a little. He was staring off so far into space that he seemed caught in another planet’s gravitational pull.

I waved my hand in front of him.

Nothing happened.

I waved my hand closer in front of him.

He closed his eyes and squeezed them together.

When he opened them he said he was just thinking about something.

I didn’t know this guy well enough to know many things about him but this guy could focus.

Focus is one of the most powerful skills that anyone can have.

It’s not even for completely understandable reasons.

The simple ability to focus on a set of facts is ability enough to solve a problem related to them.

For example, you may not know the correct mathematical procedure to solve a math problem but if you let your brain mull over the details long enough, the secret sometimes just comes to you from plain old logic.

For many different reasons, some students take their focus away from school.

Perhaps they don’t enjoy school.

Maybe they got annoyed by a teacher.

Better yet, they might just have more important things in their life.

When they took their focus away from school, they moved their focus into some other area of their life.

Some bad or good students just let their brains fade in and out of school work. That lets the students learn a little bit from the teacher every now and then.

A student skilled at focusing can ignore the teacher completely.

Their brain says they have better things to focus on.

The better the student is at focusing, the less random teacher stimuli gets stuck in their head.

The less random stimuli they get, the worse their grades end up being.

Naturally, some great focusers focus on school to improve their grades dramatically.

Impeccable Priorities

If your goal is to become a rock star then it (kind of) makes sense to skip paying attention in class.

Focus helps point out one of the most important qualities many bad students thrive in.

Focusing on something other than school can be a sign that the student has thought out priorities.

A student that loves music might want to become a rock musician.

That guy knows that sitting in history class isn’t going to do much good in that career.

This student shows up because they have to. Then he focuses on music.

School doesn’t matter to them.

That’s an effective use of priorities. Whether it is intelligent or not is up for debate.

By focusing on what you’re motivated to do you can make significantly more progress in less time.

Many students never learn how to use priorities for school.

School may be a top priority for the student.

It may just be because they’ve been doing what they’ve been told.

The student has no evidence that it is important.

The student just does what they’re told in hopes to survive another day.

This is a skill that, when a student is interested in school, can lead to great grades without too much effort.

World Class Motivation

The biggest problem that many bad students have when it comes to school is motivation in school.

They can’t convince themselves to care enough to actually put effort into their grades.

If you put these students in a situation that they’re actually interested in learning in then their results improve.

What is it that’s going to get you to do what you need to do? If you don’t see the beauty in doing what you need to do then you probably won’t do it.

Of course, if you are that bad student, then there are things you can do to get yourself more motivated for school.

One of them is to start ignoring most of the clichés the schools throw at you.

If they were the ones to demotivate you, don’t expect them to remotivate you. They failed.

This blog can get you that motivation.

You may need to find some completely different reason.

That’s something that depends on you.

Sometimes effectiveness can massively improve your motivation.

Learning is a long and complicated process but memorizing information is quick and easy.

Learning to memorize better can increase your motivation.

It’s a lot easier to get motivated to spend a few minutes memorizing than a few hours studying.

If you are a good student, remember that the things that make you skilled in school won’t make you skilled in life.

Sure, you can keep up your polite acceptance to help you get through school.

When you get out of that environment, everything is going to change.

Be prepared.

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Why Bad Students (Sometimes) Make The Best Students

CAUTION! Don’t Let This Happen To You

This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.

R. is a college graduate that I know. He went to one of the best colleges in his field. He worked hard. He scored high. He did everything he was supposed to do…

He’s a smart guy.

Now R. has the degree… but not much else except tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

He lives at home with his parents barely able to get by paying his loans off… He blew it because he wasn’t ready despite the high scores.


Scores matter.

It can give you the fast-track in life…

But it’s not everything.

You need more than just good scores. You need:

  • Efficient learning strategies (you can use through life)
  • High-scoring testing strategies (to prove you know your stuff)
  • Pareto-esque prioritization systems (to use your time better)

Most importantly:

  • An enjoyable life WHILE learning and scoring high (because if it’s not enjoyable, you won’t keep doing it.)

Welcome to Smart Student Secrets. I’m Aaron.

Right now, I’m giving you some of my most powerful strategies to improve your scores and improve your life –

It’s an email sequence – read it.

Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.

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22 thoughts on “Why Bad Students (Sometimes) Make The Best Students

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  • December 2, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    I was and still am so skeptimistic about everything. Maybe I was a “bad student”. I’ve found it to be a great quality though because not believing what I was being thought made me curious enough to research it myself to gain a better understanding.

  • August 28, 2015 at 9:35 am

    I always think of it like this:

    Intelligence is good for school grades up to a certain point. At a certain point they become counterproductive and your grades would start going down. Instead of being stimulated by the material you get bored by the material. Of course, getting bad grades doesn’t mean you’re too intelligent but it could mean that.


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